Camming provides alternatives to the standard pay-slip.
Working as a camgirl, it’s not all about the fun customers, interesting requests, and sexual pleasure: money and getting paid are of vital importance.
But camming provides alternatives to the standard pay-slip.
When I worked in retail, payday took forever to come around and its rewards seemed to disappear so quickly. The money was paid into my bank account and it seemed like it was immediately gone, thanks to rent, food, and bills.
For those working in the webcam modelling industry, navigating the financial side can be more complicated than just waiting for the money to appear in your account.
Each webcam hosting site offers different payment methods including Paxum, a check sent in the mail, wire transfer, through a direct deposit (only available to US webcam models) or through cryptocurrencies, namely Bitcoin. Chaturbate NSFW and SpankChain are just two platforms that give payouts in crypto.
Bitcoin has become a household name, thanks to dramatic fluctuations in price and headlines about the dark web. It is known as a decentralised digital currency that avoids government intervention and can be held in online wallets until it is spent or exchanged for another currency.
I get paid each month in Bitcoin because I believe it offers me the maximum amount of safety when getting paid for sexual services online. It is quicker than getting a check sent to my address and is cheaper than a wire transfer.
Getting paid once per month instead of twice allows me to cut down on exchange costs (it instead costs about $3) but this does mean that those who need the money more quickly end up paying double.
When I perform, I get paid in tokens, usually in dribs and drabs throughout my show and when I finish, I have a token balance well into the thousands. However, I cannot just exchange the tokens into hard cash then and there.
I have to wait it out until the payment period is over, which are bimonthly. These tokens are then converted into Bitcoin and are transferred into my Bitcoin wallet and eventually exchanged for the currency of my choice.
Through the use of Bitcoin wallets, you can send a link for payment, which is then used by the webcam host site to send your earnings. This process can take a couple of weeks, and initially I was concerned that it was taking a lot longer than expected, when I was still waiting for payment 10 days after I had requested it.
When the Bitcoin arrived in my wallet, only a small fee had been removed, a far cry from the $45 deduction when choosing to get paid via wire transfer and avoids the complications of requesting a card for Paxum or waiting weeks for a check to arrive in the mail.
Getting paid in Bitcoin is often regarded as a way of maximising anonymity when it comes to webcamming. Keeping your personal payment information separate from the hosting sites helps to reduce dangers of hacking and doxing and provides an extra barrier guarding your personal details.
Safety can be ensured by keeping multiple cryptocurrency wallets and limiting the exchanges that take place out of the wallet that is used for longer term storage. Furthermore, keeping payment information secure is essential. I tend to avoid discussing my use of Bitcoin with my customers and make sure I have secure passwords and multiple-step verification for logging into my wallet.
Bitcoin can be kept out of bank accounts for as long as needed, and the source of the money is invisible, helping to avoid connecting webcamming with real-life identities.
However, this does not exempt webcam models from paying tax. As self-employed workers, they are responsible for ensuring they are on top of their finances and working within the law.
Bitcoin may come with the advantages in terms of low cost for the models and increased safety online, but unlike the other payment forms, Bitcoin is susceptible to fluctuations in value and can be seen as a volatile investment.
Depending on the time that the tokens are transferred into Bitcoin, models can face large deductions in their expected pay before the Bitcoin has even landed in their wallet.
Furthermore, when exchanging Bitcoin into their currency of choice, models face another set of deductions and are still vulnerable to losses if the price sinks after they have requested the transfer.
This has become a common complaint from webcam models who face devastating cuts to their pay if their Bitcoin transfers are badly timed.
On the other hand, ot is also important to consider the use of cryptocurrencies as forming a part of the stigmatization of online sex work. With cryptocurrencies still so heavily associated with criminal activity, with many people only hearing about cryptocurrencies in relation to online black markets, such as Silk Road, and its connections to narcotics and child pornography, getting paid in Bitcoin is still tainted with ideas of illegality.
When webcam models face obstacles to getting paid in more conventional methods, including large fees for wire transfer and long delays getting a check sent in the post, it encourages misconceptions about the legality of sex work, such as camming, which is often thought to be illegal.
Getting paid in Bitcoin might be the more convenient method for models, but I can’t help but feel it encourages the stigmatization of webcamming and delegitimizes this form of work.
In my next post, I will talk about the benefits of using Bluetooth and tip-activated sex toys as part of my performance, and how they can be used to build intimacy with my customers.
Image sources: Marco Verch, Elvin Pederson